IOC president says he is confident about Cypress snow
VANCOUVER (CP) — IOC president Jacques Rogge has dismissed concerns about snow conditions at Cypress Mountain, site of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing at the Vancouver Olympics.
“ We have absolutely no concern whatsoever. Our technicians, together with the technicians of the International Ski Federation, went and had a look there. We had a good meeting this morning with the organizing committee,” Rogge told a news conference Monday. “ There is no concern and there is no Plan B.”
With Mother Nature not cooperating, Olympic organizers have turned to their chemistry set to keep things frosty at Cypress.
Tubes filled with dry ice have been placed in the moguls and the aerials course on Cypress Mountain, in West Vancouver, to keep snow from breaking down. Pumped full of dry ice and frozen for 12 hours, the cold permeates the snow around it.
The weather at the freestyle skiing and snowboarding venue remained front and centre Monday in the buildup to Friday’s opening of the Games.
says highs will hover around 3 C this week at Cypress, leading up to the first day of competition Saturday, when there is a 60 per cent chance of rain on the mountain on metro Vancouver’s North Shore region.
Rogge was asked about global warming at his news conference Monday.
“Global warming is, of course, something that is worrying the entire world on a big range of issues,” he said. “It might affect in the long-term the staging of ( future) Winter Games. But I can tell you already in the questions of the (IOC) Evaluation Commission, we . . . ask for statistics that are very clear. We want to know what the normal snow conditions are in a particular resort. Of course this is not a guarantee for the future. It’s like in banking, the performance of the past is not a guarantee for the performance of the future.”
He also cited “the improvement of artificial snow machines and everything that is put in place in Cypress Mountain to alleviate changes in meteorology.”
Like a team of surgeons working over an ailing patient, helicop- ters have been dropping snow while trucks have been moving snow up and down the mountain to prepare the site for training and the first day of freestyle skiing Saturday, when Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alta., will attempt to defend her title in women’s moguls.
Weather issues at Winter Games are nothing new. But Vancouver organizers did provide the International Olympic Committee with an update on Cypress in their final briefing before the Games start.
“ They asked us about Cypress, they asked us about the transportation plan to Whistler, I think they asked us about potential protest activity, and that was pretty well it,” Dave Cobb, executive vice-president of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, told reporters. “ We only had three or four questions and again, they are quite pleased with where we are.”
Cobb said Cypress venue workers “are working 24 hours a day and they know the world is watching them and they are not prepared to fail, so we think we’ll have fields of play that are of an Olympic standard but there is still work to do over the next few days to get it ready but we are very confident that we will be ready.”
Venue officials have reduced training time at Cypress to help preserve the snow, although ath- letes were allowed back on the hill Monday. Media, however, were not.
“I think it’s quite simple,” said Cobb. “ There’s here’s still a lot of work going on in the mountain, there’s still snow being trucked in and flown in to ensure we have enough contingency snow if the warm weather continues, so there’s a lot of activity going on so for safety reasons and our desire not to have any of the course preparation work impacted, we decided just to let on the people that are absolutely necessary for the training, which is the athletes and the coaching staff, we’ll give the team one more day to get a lot of their work done and then the plan is to have the media up at the mountain tomorrow (Tuesday).”
As the issue of possible protests Friday, IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said: “ We have to accept protests, and there will be some and fine, let’s leave it, we are used to that.
“I knew that on my time with the evaluation commission that there are some groups opposed to the Games here, that’s normal so we don’t see anything special in that.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge responds to a question during a news conference Monday, at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.